Items wanted by family members featured in the Four Neediest Cases.

Lizzie Stobbe

Four neediest cases

December 4, 2018

For the third year in a row, TKC has decided to tackle the Four Neediest Cases project, inspired by St. Louis Post Dispatch’s 100 Neediest Cases features. Each holiday season, TKC sends out four staffers to speak with four students at KHS. These students have told TKC about their families’ stories and needs. Below are their anonymous features with an attached list of items the families or individuals could use, but cannot afford otherwise. Even a contribution as small as one dollar goes a long way. Donations will be collected in South – 162 Journalism (SJ), the main office and grade-level offices. In addition, this year TKC will also be collecting monetary donations online–here. All donations are welcome and appreciated.

Four neediest cases: family

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Four neediest cases: family

art by Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Their mother had just gone to the store for some cigarettes and a tea. To please her, her children all decided to take baths so they would be nice and clean when their mother got home. They bathed and laughed, blowing bubbles at each other as they washed themselves. From the bathroom, they heard a knock at the door. They went to answer it.

The knock was their mother. She was at the door–covered in blood.

On the way back from the store, their mother had taken a shortcut home through an alley. Two men happened to be fighting over a gun as she walked by. The men fumbled with the gun, and a bullet shot out planting  itself in their mother’s stomach.

Two weeks later, after a small recovery period, their mother made an announcement. Their family was leaving home to go live across the country. She needed help from their grandmother to get back on her feet, and they couldn’t afford to stay in St. Louis.

“My mother didn’t have a car,” they said. “She didn’t have a job. She’s a single mother. How was she going to pay for anything?”

At their new home, the family faced an entirely fresh set of challenges in a foreign environment. They frequently went weeks without water and electricity and often struggled to get food on the table. After years of financial struggles, their family was eventually evicted. That’s when they had to move back to St. Louis and take shelter with family again.

They currently stay at their aunt’s house. They said they’re content where they are in Kirkwood, near family, and that their family makes them happiest.

“We laugh and joke all day,” they said. “Even at night time, my sister and I are loud, joking. We love watching horror movies together, and my auntie cooks big dinners. [My auntie] wants us to be happy.”

They spend their weekends driving in and out of state visiting their family, and their weeknights messaging their siblings through Instagram. The family is scattered throughout the country, but it doesn’t stop them from connecting every day.

“One time, I lived away from my sisters for a whole year,” they said. “We missed each other. I also missed my brother and my mom. And, after that, no, no, no, I will never leave them again.”

Unfortunately, their mother just had another child, and the family has been struggling financially again. Meaning that even though they recently moved back, they might need to make another move out of state. This time the move would be without some of their siblings who are grown, separating the family again. They don’t know what will happen in the end. Right now they’re taking it day by day.

Donation list:

Household needs

Socks, underwear, hygiene products, food for the house, cups and bowls, silverware, comforters twin size, comforters full size, coconut oil

Person A 

Shirt size XXL, Bra size 43D, Leggings XL, Shoes (Ugg boots) size 10, iPhone, Victoria Secret lotion

Person B 

Playstation, Shirt size M , Pants size 32, Shoes size 10 ½ (Huaraches or Timberland boots)

Person C 

Dark blue Ugg boots size 10 ½ , Shirt size L, Leggings, Pants size 6, Victoria Secret lotion, Laptop

Person D 

Black Uggs size 8 ½ , Shirt size M, Pants size 10, Laptop, Lotion, Pink hoodie, Leggings size M

Person E 

Baby clothes size 3-6 months, Socks, Bibs, Snow suit, Baby bouncer, Toys, Baby towels, Soap, Lotion

Person F 

Shirt size L/XL, Pants size L (no jeans), Winter coat , Something from Victoria Secret, Laptop, Nike Huaraches size 10

Four neediest cases: 2011

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Four neediest cases: 2011

art by Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

2011 brought change to their life. It began with their mother’s death and continued with a move to their aunt’s house in the city.

“My mom died when I was 9 years old,” they said. “They were going to put us in foster care, but my aunt didn’t want that so she decided to [have] us [live] with her.”

After a while, another move was necessary. This time they came to Kirkwood. Three more kids were brought into their aunt’s household, upending an already unstable routine.

“[My family is] adopting the [three kids],” they said. “We were fostering them because their mom was killed a few months ago.”

Their routine is more solid now, beginning with waking up at 6:30 a.m. After eating a breakfast of peanut butter crackers, they head to the bus, starting another long day of school, work and homework.

“I get off work at 9:30 p.m. and then do my homework until 11 p.m.,” they said. “Homework [is] a daily struggle.”

Despite these struggles, family is still important. The family can be found eating meals together and chatting about life. In fact, family is one of the things that make them happiest. However, money doesn’t come easily for them. In fact, it’s downright difficult.

“[My aunt] can’t work because she has a disability, so she gets disability checks and then checks for [the kids we’re adopting] to support them,” they said.

Donations List:

Person A

Pink Ross and Visa gift cards

Person B 

Bicycle and clothes: large shirt, 34-30 pants and size men’s shoes 9 1/2

Person C

Hand-held game system and clothes: boys size 8 to 10 pants and shirts and size 2 shoes

Person D  

Learning tablet, baby dolls and Walmart gift cards

Person E  

Learning tablet, baby dolls and Walmart gift cards

Person F

Baby toys, learning toys, ride on toy and Walmart gift cards

Four neediest cases: God

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Four neediest cases: God

art by Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

About two years ago, they found God. It’s not that they didn’t already believe in God, it’s just they weren’t as devoted as they are now. But after reading the Bible more, their eyes were opened. Despite any hardship, there is always the comfort of God, they said.

“Everyone has their own struggles,” they said. “I believe God puts things in your way for you to overcome and build as a person. I feel like I’m overcoming life in general.”

About two years ago, before they truly found God, they analyzed their life. They realized they wanted to make a change about their life.

“One day I just sat down and thought, ‘Do I wanna keep doing things the same or do I wanna try to do something different?’” they said. “Then I thought, ‘If I wanna try to do something different, then what’s that thing gonna be?’ Then I sat down, looked inside myself and got to the place I am now. I think I’m a pretty decent person. I’m not the best person, I still sin, I’m pretty hot-headed sometimes, but I try my best. I feel like I’m an honest person at least. I try my best.”

Even after being kicked out of their house with nothing to eat and only the cold of winter and the clothes on their back to comfort them, they continued to look to God. Because even when they may feel like they have no one left, He will always be there.

“At the end of the day, if [everyone] else in the world gives up, at least God is there for me,” they said.

Even when life gets hard, they still have plenty to be thankful for. Their optimistic view on life is what saves them time that could be wasted on being sad about anything hard in life.

“Focus on the good, don’t worry about the bad, because the bads gonna get better,” they said. “I’m grateful for my friends, the little money that I do have, the clothes on my back. I’m grateful that I woke up this morning.”

No matter how others may view the struggles of life, they choose not to see them as struggles. They choose to take everything as a learning opportunity for self-growth. They choose to see how everything that goes wrong in someone’s life, will actually benefit them in the future. They choose to remain grateful. They choose to see the grace of God.

“I just really thank God for all that I have.”

Donations List: 

Monetary donations for school debt

Size medium Nike sweatshirts

Gift cards to True Religion

Four neediest cases: school

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Four neediest cases: school

art by Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

They have a really close family. They are an older sibling who constantly has to help with their brother and sister, it’s annoying, but they are close and have a lot of good memories with them. They remembered when their younger brother got in trouble for no reason while they and their sister laughed a lot and joked around. Dancing with their sister is something they enjoying doing and they both love the same music, hip-hop. Their mother is a huge part of their life, their mom is nice and protective. Christmas is their favorite holiday because they get to spend more time with their mom. Something else they enjoy about Christmas is the food, (chitlins is their favorite thing to eat, a food made out of the pig intestines.) and getting clothes and shoes. Their favorite type of shoes are Jordans, Uggs, Nikes and different types of clothing—both masculine and feminine.

They used to struggle with their temper, and taking their anger out on others, but have learned how to better handle it, many Kirkwood teachers have been helpful and understanding about it. Going to school makes them feel good because they feel welcomed. Chemistry and math interests them and might consider going into a chemistry career. Going into high school, they thought there would be more drama than there actually is, but they actually experienced the opposite. They ended up making close friends, many who they would have never thought to meet.

Just like any other teenager, they love music, have a good group of family, and love to joke around with their family.

Donations list:

Person A

size 5 in juniors clothing or S in women’s sizes, 10 in women’s shoes

Person B

size 3 in junior clothing or size XS in women’s, size 6 in women’s shoes

Person C

size 32 waist, large in jogging pants, 9½ in men’s shoes

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